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During the many years we’ve spent helping a variety of people move on with their lives we have experienced almost everything that can, and does, happen during the house selling process.
Selling a home is a big undertaking and for those not familiar with the process, it can be a daunting time which is why it is important to get yourself in the best possible position by having an initial plan in place to help guide you through the process. The decisions you make during the sale of your house can save, or cost you, thousands of pounds. With that in mind, we have put together a simple guide to assist you with your house sale:
Is now the right time to sell?
Depending on your circumstances there may be alternative options to selling your home which may suit you better.
Need more space? It could be worth comparing the cost of selling your home to the cost of an extension. If you do consider an extension, be sure to consider if the cost of transforming your home would be reflected in an increase in value. But bear in mind that your immediate local area will have a ‘ceiling’ for market values – that’s a price that a home is unlikely to sell above, simply because of the size and type of other homes around it.
If you’re looking to downsize to, say, release equity, you need to be certain that the costs of a smaller house will be less expensive.
If you are certain that now is the right time for you to move here, we shed some light on ‘industry know how’ to consider when putting your house on the market:
Think about when the best time is to sell your home.
Historically speaking, spring is often cited as the premium time in which to put your home on the market. Key ‘hot points’ occur around the Easter and May bank holidays.
Alternatively, did you know that Boxing Day is Rightmove’s busiest day of the year in terms of people viewing online listings? Which is why for many of our successful sales we have capitalised on this increased viewership by launching on Boxing Day.
Other elements an intelligent and proactive agent will incorporate into your property’s marketing include which day of the week and even down to what time of the day will lead to increased saleability of your home.
Working out your finances
Before selling your house it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of how much it is worth. With this knowledge you can then calculate how much money you will have, possibly taking into account paying off the mortgage, for associated costs such as, conveyancing, estate agency fees, moving fees, home improvement costs and alike.
Choosing an estate agent who will only act in your best interests
Selling your home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’re ever likely to make, as well as the increased stress surrounding monetary aspects of selling a home, there’s also the emotional aspects to consider.
So, you need to be sure that the agent you choose can not only get you the right buyer and the best price, but also understand your situation and be able to guide you confidently through the process.
Before speaking to an agent, here’s some handy questions to help you evaluate who’s the best fit for you:
- Are they a member of a professional body, such as the Property Ombudsman?
- Have they got homes for sale similar to yours?
And for when you speak to an agent, here’s some questions to ask them directly:
- What’s the market like at the moment for my area, type of home?
- Have you sold any similar homes recently?
- Do you have any potential buyers in mind?
As long as you’ve chosen your agent carefully, you shouldn’t have any real issues, but it’s always a good idea to check:
- What’s the minimum contract period, and how much notice do you need to give?
- If you find a buyer yourself, do you still have to pay the agent a fee?
- Who’s the right person to speak to if there’s a problem?
And most importantly, you need to ask yourself, ‘Does this agent feel right for me?’
Next steps, do you want to buy or rent your next property
An important part of the house selling process is knowing if you are going to purchase your next home or move into rented accommodation.
While the costs of moving into rented accommodation can take a toll on your finances, it can be an option to consider reducing the time pressure and you also won’t feel rushed into buying a home which you don’t feel is your dream home. You will also be more attractive to a buyer, as moving into a rented home means you will have broken the ‘chain’.
Alternatively, if you decide to buy your next property, a trusted and experienced agent can help you speed up the sometimes lengthy process, and help you get in a good position to negotiate the price of your next home.
Preparing your home for sale
When the time comes to get your home prepared for selling, here we outline the important elements that make up your property marketing, to make sure each one is showcasing your home at its very best.
There is a lot to consider before inviting a photographer to take pictures of your house. Everything from the weather on the day of the shoot, to the quirks and features of your home, and even the experience of the photographer can influence the outcome.
While there isn’t a lot about these factors you can control, you do have the power to set the scene to achieve optimum results. Here are some expert tips to help you on your way:
- Clear the clutter to potentially add inches to the size of your rooms. Read more about our Property Doctor Service
- ‘Shop for props’… The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home and you can enhance your photos with bowls of fresh fruits or by including champagne and pastries on the day of your photos. In the living areas you can use fresh flowers and for bedrooms and bathrooms we’d recommend crisp and ironed bedding with plump pillows and fluffy white towels for display uses. You can add comfort to your outdoor space with tealights and hanging baskets.
- No one will know your home as well as you do so by taking note of special features and attractive elements throughout your home can be useful for your property photographer.
A family member’s or friend’s honest walk through
As your home is your place of comfort it's helpful for a trusted family member or friend to walk through your home to highlight areas to enhance your property’s presentation. This can include removing utensils from your worktops for the purpose of your photos. Together you can go through your home checking each room to enable your viewers to see it at its best.
Cut back an unruly garden
If the changing weather has caused your garden to become a little out of hand, it is important to tame it in readiness for your property’s photos and eventual viewings. Again, this is to help interested buyers see all of the benefits on offer. For example, clearing overgrown shrubs can show additional space.
To ease the process as your house goes on the market it is a good idea to hire a property solicitor or conveyancer as soon as possible. This way, when your house is on the market you can work to get all the paperwork relating to a sale ready and your conveyancer can prepare all the necessary documents, such as a draft contract, for when an offer is accepted.
Understandably, to keep costs to a minimum it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option when hiring a solicitor and our experience is that the cheapest on offer is not always the best option. We would recommend you shop around, check reviews and personal recommendations from family and friends. It is paramount to have a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing.
Selecting the right buyer
Receiving offers on your house is an exciting time where it can be too easy to accept your first or highest offer without taking the time to really consider the best one for you. Our team performs stringent ‘due diligence’ using our ‘know-how’ to check the position of all potential buyers and advise you accordingly.
- What is the financial position of the buyer?
- Are they in a chain?
- Do they seem committed?
- What is your own position, i.e. – can you wait for more offers?
The highest offer on the table is very tempting but that may not come with the best circumstances.
For example, an offer from someone in a chain, which depending on the time for everyone to complete, can draw out the timescales and increase the risk of the sale falling through.
On some occasions it may be worth choosing the purchaser who is chain free or a cash buyer, even if their offer is slightly lower.
Accepted an offer… what next?
Once you have accepted an offer on your house your estate agent will draw up a memorandum of sale and share with all parties involved. You will need to appoint a conveyancer to begin the legal process, for which they are responsible for the legal side of your house sale. They will prepare a contract and plan your completion day. The buyers’ conveyancer will be responsible for the purchase side of the process and your buyers will often arrange for a survey to take place on your home at this stage.
For many house sellers and buyers, this period of the house selling and buying process is often the hardest part. Here is where you will find a good agent who will really hold your best interests with high importance. Experienced agents, who thoroughly understand the whole conveyancing process, like those at Shrigley Rose will stand with you and assist you through each step. No query is too big or small.
Preparing to move & completion day
Completion is the final stage of the property selling (and buying) process and is a date normally decided between a seller and their buyer through their solicitors.
(Top tip: we would always recommend this takes place during the working week so the banks are available to clear funds).
At this point, the property legally changes hands to the new owners. Usually, completion will take place around lunchtime, and you will have to vacate your home and hand over the keys.
Who to give your keys to will depend on what the parties involved have agreed upon. They can either be passed directly to the buyer, through your solicitor or your estate agent. Having a plan in place to hand off your keys will make it easier for all involved.
Prior to completion, we would advise you to notify your utility companies of your upcoming move. Take note of your gas and electric readings on the day you leave your home. You will need these for your final bill. Around this time, if contracts have been exchanged or you’ve received confirmation from your solicitor, we would suggest you book your removal company.
Thinking of Selling?
If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s smart to prepare, and note down, what you think your sale will entail. Such as, is your home in need of a repair? Will you need to decorate to get your home ready for market? Unsure of where to start? Here’s our steps to ensure a successful sale.Read our guide here
Trying to Sell?
If your home is on the market and you’ve not had much success, we’ve created the ultimate checklist ‘Our Home Saleability Checklist’ walks you through our unique five saleability factors and explains how they relate to the sale of your home. Boosting your homes’ saleability can have a profound impact on your final agreed sale price.Try Our Saleability Checklist
Struggling to Sell?
When your property is stuck in limbo on the market it can be both financially and emotionally draining. As viewings dry up, or worse, no viewings to begin with, it’s easy to get disheartened. To add some life back you’re your property’s marketing, take a look at our ‘relaunch’ strategy.Read our guide here